It sounds like a small social etiquette, but it could potentially save a life. The last few weeks, Sonoma County faced some stressful weather-induced scares. Fortunately, in the most recent event, evacuations were successful and relatively few homes burned. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, many of us were impacted by a loss of power, evacuation, and/or loss of cellphone service but at least we were safe.
I thought it was a good time to remind residents of the importance of knowing your neighbors. It can start with a doorbell ring, a handshake and (the ever important) exchange of contact information. A nice addition, especially if electronic means of communication are more your thing, try connecting with your neighbors via Nextdoor.com. The social network for specific neighborhoods connects you to those that live in your area. Send messages to neighbors and keep up-to-date on what’s happening on your street. A simple check-in might be what your neighbor needs to help calm the nerves during a disaster. If communication methods are compromised, plan a meeting place or two.
Some of our favorite tools, that are great conversation starters, include the following: signing up for Nixle alerts at Nixle.com, visiting National Weather Service at weather.gov, and registering for SoCoAlert notifications at 866-939-0911 press “0”. Also, consider visiting ready.gov to help prepare your household.
Ever wonder what the difference is between all those different types of emergency notifications? The National Weather Service (NWS) may issue outlooks, advisories, watches and warnings. Outlooks are the least serious notification and it is issued when hazardous weather in expected to occur within the next 3-7 days. Outlooks are a good time to monitor the situation for further updates. Advisories are issued when weather conditions are less serious but likely to cause inconvenience and threaten property. An increased risk of a hazardous weather event is classified as a watch notification. A warning notification is the most serious notification; a hazardous weather event is occurring, imminent, or likely to threaten life or property. As a weather event develops, the alerts will be issued in their appropriate order; however, if a quick situation develops, the advisory or watch could be skipped.
To help residents prepare for disasters, the city’s Fire Prevention Division presents two-hour disaster preparedness courses. These two hours could make an enormous difference when things go bad. By attending the course, you will receive a comprehensive manual to help you prepare, along with useful templates for your family’s information and an emergency plan. We can arrange to present the course to groups upon request. Call us at 584-2641 to make arrangements.
One final token of gratitude to the community and our spirit of collaboration. Our efforts to “save Halloween” by hosting, in partnership with the Discovery Church, an indoor Halloween event at the community center was a huge success. The community banded together to provide volunteers and candy donations. Our local Safeway got wind of the event and donated tons of candy. My heart couldn’t be fuller with the event’s success and heightened sense of community. To say the event was a success is an understatement. Thank you for all that participated, donated, and volunteered - proof that we truly are the friendly city.